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How to Make Money as a Digital Nomad

Moneymagpie Team 28th Jul 2020 3 Comments

Reading Time: 6 minutes

If you’ve had a taste of remote working during lockdown and liked it, you might like to become a digital nomad.

Travel the world and work remotely to earn money while you live in gorgeous locations!

What Is a Digital Nomad?

What is a digital nomad?

So many jobs can be done entirely remotely these days that it’s possible to travel the world while holding down a full-time or part-time job. A digital nomad is someone who moves around – either month-to-month or longer-term – and does the same job wherever they are.

Website designers, for example, can work from anywhere in the world. All they require is a laptop and a good internet connection!

The huge advantage of being a digital nomad is that you don’t have to decide between taking a holiday or working. You get paid to BE on holiday! (Kind of). Yes, you still have to work – but you can do it from tropical beaches or on a cruise across the ocean – all you need is a good internet connection.

Types of Jobs That Suit Digital Nomads

Anything that can be done entirely on a computer is ideal for the digital nomad lifestyle. Things like:

  • Writing
  • Graphic design
  • Customer service
  • Administrative work / virtual assistant
  • Software developers
  • Website designers
  • Dropshipping retailers

And that’s just the broad strokes of a list! If you can think of a way to do your job totally remotely, you can be a digital nomad.

Picking Your Next Work Location

Some nomads move every week or month, travelling the world as they work. Others prefer to take six months here and there to really explore a place.

It all depends on what you want from your digital nomad lifestyle. Do you want to dive deep into a new culture, or experience lots of different new things? If you’re happy with moving regularly, you could get a lot of world travel in while you work.

Being a nomad means you need to travel light, though. So, if you want to try out setting up a new life somewhere longer term, consider a six-month stint in your country of choice instead. You can ship some of your belongings out, if you need home comforts – rather than relying on what you can carry!

How to choose your next location

You’ll also need to look for certain things before you travel, including:

  • Visa requirements (some countries have strict laws on working while visiting)
  • Strong internet connection
  • Locations included on your travel insurance
  • Crime rate and safety (you’re travelling with tech gear, so be aware!)
  • Coronavirus restrictions and quarantine rules

Find a place to stay for the duration of your trip that’s comfortable and, ideally, has somewhere you can work. If you’re going really cheap on the digital nomad lifestyle, hostels usually have common rooms you can use – including WiFi!

Countries That Love Digital Nomads

Some countries have very strict laws about whether you can work while you’re in the country. It often depends on the type of visa you have – though things can get a little blurry when it comes to being a digital nomad.

You’re working, but not paying taxes etc into the system of the country you’re living in at the time. So, does that count as working on a travel visa or not? Each country views it differently. The best thing to do is check the country’s official Government website – and if you have no luck finding the information, try the VisaHQ.com website.

Of course, visa status will change after Brexit kicks in, so always keep checking what you need to do. However, these countries welcome freelancers and digital nomads with open arms:

  • Germany on the Freelance Freiberufler Visa
  • Estonia on the Digital Nomad Visa
  • Barbados (yes, really)
  • Czech Republic Long Term Visa (for one year)
  • Mexico’s Temporary Resident Visa
  • Spain with the Self Employment Visa

See? You can work in all sorts of places to get the best of both travelling AND a steady income!

How to Save Money as a Digital Nomad

Save money as a digital nomad with these tips

The more you can save, the more you can travel! So, follow these tips for working on a bootstrap to make the most of your digital nomad lifestyle.

Use free software

Unless you need specific software for your job – such as design tools – free stuff does it just as well! Use things like Open Office or Google Docs to manage your day-to-day ‘office’ tasks.

Make the most of video calls

Don’t waste money on an expensive mobile phone contract! Make the most of Whatsapp, Zoom, and other video calling and internet phone calling software. It’ll save you a LOT of money, and your clients will enjoy having you ‘in the room’ rather than a faceless voice, too.

Opt for longer-term stays

Short hops between places is a great way to see the world – but you’ll get more for your money by staying in one place longer. You can negotiate better room rates if you stay more than two weeks in the same place! Try to find self-catered accommodation where you can, as cooking for yourself will make living MUCH cheaper.

Try housesitting

An even better way to save money is to register as an official housesitter! You don’t have to pay for the accommodation – just look after someone’s home while they’re away. You might also need to look after their pets, but if you’re allergic to animals you can choose to avoid housesitting for fur-filled homes.

Check your travel online

Compare your next travel plans online before booking. Use comparison sites to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible on your travel tickets.

Go by bus or rail

Try to avoid flying unless you have to. Bus and rail tickets are often FAR cheaper – and if you time it right, a sleeper berth on a train means a cheap night’s accommodation, too!

Invest in good travel insurance

Go for premium insurance that covers a wide range of scenarios – including plenty of cover for your laptop, phone, and any other gadgets. It’s worth paying a little extra for peace of mind – and premium insurance can help you with things like replacement passports, legal aid, and other things on top of basic travel, accommodation, or accident costs.

Get a travel-friendly credit card

Make sure you’ve got a credit card for spending emergencies, such as last-minute ticket changes. Find a credit card suited for travellers – such as one with cheap conversion fees.

Set up an international banking option

Working as a digital nomad means you can work anywhere – for anyone. So, if you happen to pick up a local client while you’re travelling, it’s important to make sure they can pay you with ease.

Transferwise is free to set up, and it allows you to create a ‘local’ bank account in most countries. This saves you (and your client) on transfer fees – and you can hold the currency in your account until the exchange rate is in your favour to convert it to pound sterling (or whatever currency you need). You can also get a debit card so you can spend straight from the account.

It’s a good idea to have a separate bank account for your travels, too. Regularly transfer smaller amounts into this account, rather than use your main current account. It helps protect you from fraud if your identity or bank cards are stolen or lost on the trip.

Eat like a local

Instead of buying lots of takeaway food or eating in restaurants all the time, eat like a local. Some places sell amazing street food that costs hardly anything! Others have fantastic markets where you can buy cheap local produce – cooking for yourself saves a lot of money when you’re travelling.

Visit new areas for free

You’re travelling to see the world, as well as work, so find cheap tourist activities ideal for those on a budget. Most cities offer free walking tours, for example, showing you the area without breaking your budget.

Use Café WiFi

Lots of cafes and even town plazas have free wifi anyone can access. Make sure you don’t do any secure activity – such as online banking – while on these networks, though. However, for the price of a cup of coffee you can sit in comfort and use the free wifi to get your work done!

More useful reading

Setting up as a digital nomad is more than picking where to travel to next. Make sure your freelance business is solid before you start seeing the world – check out these helpful articles next!


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3 years ago

Some good tips.

3 years ago

Sounds good, but will require sufficient bank balance to travel and accommodation.

3 years ago

Could be the perfect job for the right person.

Jasmine Birtles

Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.

Jasmine Birtles

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